Acts 1:16
Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
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(16) Men and brethren.—Better, brethren only, the word being used as in the LXX. of Genesis 13:8. The tone of St. Peter’s speech is that of one who felt that his offence had been fully forgiven, and that he was now restored by the charge given him, as in John 21:15-17, to his former position as guide and leader of the other disciples. To do that work faithfully was a worthier fruit of repentance than any public confession of his guilt would have been. This, of course, does not exclude—what is in itself probable—that he had previously confessed his fault, either to his special friend St. John, or to the whole company of Apostles and other disciples.

Which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake . . .—We have here, obviously, the firstfruits of the new method of interpretation in which the Apostles had been instructed (Luke 24:27; Luke 24:45). They had already been taught that the Holy Spirit which their Lord had promised to them had before spoken by the prophets. The recurrence of the same mode of speech in the “holy men of God who spake as they were moved (literally, borne along) by the Holy Ghost,” in 2Peter 1:21, is, as far as it goes, evidence in favour of the genuineness of that Epistle.

Which was guide to them that took Jesus.—The actual word “guide” is not found in the Gospel narrative, but it appears as a fact in all four, notably in that of St. John (John 18:2-3).

Acts 1:16-17. Men and brethren — Though our Lord never addressed the people thus, (perhaps because it would have implied an equality not suitable to the dignity of his character,) yet the apostles frequently did, when they spoke to Jews or Christians, but never when speaking to the Gentiles. This implies, that they recognised a two-fold relation to their own countrymen, “as men of the same nature, descended from Adam; and as brethren of the same favoured family, as descended from Abraham.” — Scott. This scripture must needs have been fulfilled — Two prophecies are afterward quoted for this purpose, Acts 1:20, from Psalm 69:25; Psalm 109:8; (on which passages see the notes;) and it has been matter of much debate, whether they do, in their original sense, refer to Judas or to the enemies of David. It is certain the sixty-ninth Psalm is not to be confined to Judas; for Paul (Romans 11:9-10) has quoted the 22d and 23d verses of it as applicable to the unbelieving Jews in general: and “there are so many passages in both these psalms more applicable to David than to Christ, that I was very inclinable,” says Dr. Doddridge, “to render the words before us thus: The scripture which the Holy Ghost spake before, by the mouth of David, must necessarily have been fulfilled concerning Judas, &c.; and to have explained them as if the apostle had said, ‘That vengeance which David foretold, as to be executed on his enemies, must much more fall on Judas, whose perfidious and cruel attack on Christ himself rendered him so much more criminal.’ But it is certain, the order of the Greek words will not naturally admit this interpretation. I therefore conclude that, while David prophesied of the calamities which should befall his persecutors, it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit, that the enemies and murderers of the Messiah should inherit those curses in all their terror, and be yet more miserable than the persons on whom they were more immediately to fall. This fact I take to be asserted in these words, as what was revealed by the same Spirit to the Apostle Peter:” an interpretation “which may serve as a key to many other passages of the New Testament.”

1:15-26 The great thing the apostles were to attest to the world, was, Christ's resurrection; for that was the great proof of his being the Messiah, and the foundation of our hope in him. The apostles were ordained, not to wordly dignity and dominion, but to preach Christ, and the power of his resurrection. An appeal was made to God; Thou, Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, which we do not; and better than they know their own. It is fit that God should choose his own servants; and so far as he, by the disposals of his providence, or the gifts of his Spirit, shows whom he was chosen, or what he has chosen for us, we ought to fall in with his will. Let us own his hand in the determining everything which befalls us, especially in those by which any trust may be committed to us.Men and brethren - This is a customary mode of address, implying affection and respect, Acts 13:26. The Syriac renders it more appropriately than by the introduction of the conjunction "and" - "Men, our brethren."

This scripture - This prediction contained in the writings of the Old Testament. Compare the notes on John 5:39. The passage to which Peter refers is commonly supposed to be that recorded in Psalm 41:9, "Yea, mine own familiar friend ...hath lifted up his heel against me." This is expressly applied to Judas by our Saviour, in John 13:18. But it seems clear that the reference is not to the 41st Psalm, but to the passage in the 69th Psalm which Peter proceeds to quote in Acts 1:20.

Must needs have been fulfilled - It would certainly be fulfilled. Not that there was any physical necessity or any compulsion; but it could not but occur that a prediction of God would be fulfilled. This makes no affirmation about the freedom of Judas in doing it. A man will be just as free in wickedness if it be foretold that he will be wicked, as if it had never been known to any other being but himself.

The Holy Ghost ... - This is a strong attestation to the inspiration of David, and accords with the uniform testimony of the New Testament, that the sacred writers spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, 2 Peter 1:21.

Concerning Judas - In what respect this was concerning Judas, see Acts 1:20.

Which was guide ... - Matthew 26:47; John 18:3.

15-26. in those days—of expectant prayer, and probably towards the close of them, when the nature of their future work began more clearly to dawn upon them, and the Holy Ghost, already "breathed" on the Eleven (Joh 20:22), was stirring in Peter, who was to be the leading spirit of the infant community (Mt 16:19).

the number … about an hundred and twenty—Many, therefore, of the "five hundred brethren" who saw their risen Lord "at once" (1Co 15:6), must have remained in Galilee.

Men and brethren, an ordinary compellation; speaker and auditors were Hebrews of the Hebrews.

This Scripture, viz. Psalm 41:9, must need, have been fulfilled; yet God’s foreknowledge and prediction excused not Judas’s sin.

Which was guide to them that took Jesus; not only leading them in the way when they took our Saviour, but being director of their counsels against him. This the apostle premises to abate the offence that the horrible fall of Judas might have occasioned.

Men and brethren,.... Which is said not so much by Peter to express his modesty, and humility, and his brotherly love; or on account of the spiritual relation that subsisted between him and the persons he speaks to, as it was a common form used in addresses; see Acts 7:2 it should seem, that the women, were not reckoned into the number of the hundred and twenty here addressed; and the Syriac version calls that number, "the number of men", unless they are supposed to be included in them:

this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled; or "must needs be fulfilled": referring either to Psalm 41:9 or rather to the passages after cited out of Psalm 69:25. There was a necessity of the fulfilling of it, consistent with the prescience of God, his counsel, and decree, and the veracity of the Scripture; which necessity does not at all excuse the sin of Judas, who acted freely from the wickedness of his own heart, and not from any force that this laid upon him: and the apostle might observe this also, to make the minds of the disciples easy, under this awful providence, since it was no other than what was predicted: and

which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake before; even many hundreds of years before the event; and which shows the omniscience, and so the deity of the Holy Ghost, and the divine authority of David's Psalms; as well as the honour that was put upon him to be the instrument by which the Holy Ghost speaks, and to be his amanuensis: the particular referred to, is, "concerning" Judas; who is sometimes called Iscariot, to distinguish him from another apostle of the same name; and what is hereafter said sufficiently does that; or

concerning that Judas, as the Syriac version renders it:

which was a guide to them that took Jesus; to the band of soldiers and officers, who came with swords and staves, as to take a thief, or a robber; before these Judas went and showed them, not only the place where he was, but gave them a sign by which they should know him, and also advice to take him and hold him fast, and lead him away safely; so that he was not only a guide as to the way, but was a director, and conductor, and manager of the whole affair. And it may be observed, that though Peter did not conceal, but declares the sin of Judas; yet not in a rough manner, aggravating it, but with much softness and tenderness; though with no design to lessen it, as appears by what follows, and which may be instructive to us in speaking of other men's sins.

{7} Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.

(7) Peter anticipates the offence that might be taken at the falling away of Judas the betrayer, showing that all things which happened to him were foretold by God.

Acts 1:16-17. Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί is more honourable and solemn than the simple familiar ἀδελφοί. See Acts 2:29; Acts 2:37, Acts 7:2, al. Comp. Xen. Anab. i. 6. 6 : ἄνδρες φίλοι. See generally Sturz, Lex. Xen. I. p. 238.

ἔδει] It could not but be an especial object with Peter to lay the foundation for his judgment, by urging that the destruction of Judas took place not accidentally, but necessarily according to the counsel of God.

τὴν γραφὴν ταύτην] this which stands written (comp. on Acts 8:35) is not, with Wolf and Eckermann, to be referred to Psalm 41:10 (John 13:18; John 18:3), because otherwise that passage must have been adduced; but to the passages contained in Acts 1:20, which Peter has already in view, but which he only introduces—after the remarks which the vivid thoughts crowding on him as he names Judas suggest—at Acts 1:20 in connection with what was said immediately before.

ὅτι κατηρ.] ὅτι is equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο, ὅτι (Mark 16:14; John 2:18; John 9:17; 2 Corinthians 1:18, al.). If Judas had not possessed the apostolic office, the γραφή referred to, which predicted the very vacating of an apostolic post, would not have been fulfilled in his fate. This fulfilment occurred in his case, inasmuch as he was an apostle.

τὸν κλῆρ. τῆς διακ. ταύτ.] the lot of this (presenting itself in us apostles) ministry, i.e. the apostolic office. Comp. Romans 11:13. ὁ κλῆρος is primarily the lot (Acts 1:26), then that which is assigned by lot, and then generally what is assigned, the share; just as in Greek writers. Comp. Acts 8:21; Acts 26:18; Wis 2:9; Wis 5:5; Sir 25:19. Baumgarten gratuitously would understand it as an antitype of the share of the twelve tribes in the land of Canaan. The genitive is to be taken partitively (share in this ministry), as the idea of apostolic fellowship, in which each κληροῦχος has therefore his partial possession in the service, also occurs in the sequel (see Acts 1:22; Acts 1:26).

λαγχάνειν here not, as in Luke 1:9, with the partitive genitive, but, as is usual (2 Peter 1:1), with the accusative of the object. See Bernhardy, p. 176; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. II. p. 2. The word is the usual term for obtaining by lot, as in Luke 1:9; it next signifies generally to obtain, and is especially used of the receiving of public magistracies (Dem. 1306. 14; Plat. Gorg. p. 473 E). So here in reference to τ. κλῆρ. τ. διακ. ταύτ.; in which case, however, an allusion to a hierarchical constitution (Zeller) is excluded by the generality of the usus loquendi of the expressions, which, besides, might be suggested by the thought of the actual use of the lot which afterwards took place.

Acts 1:16. Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοί: a mode of address indicating not only respect but also the solemnity of the occasion and the importance of the subject. There is nothing unclassical in this use of the vocative without at the beginning of speeches. Demosthenes, at least on some occasions, used the phrase Ἄνδρες Ἀθηναῖοι without . Simcox, ubi supra, p. 76, note, and see also Winer-Schmiedel, p. 258, note.—ἔδει: very frequent in St. Luke’s Gospel and the Acts; in the former nineteen, in the latter twenty-five times, and in all parts of the book, Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 22 (Lekebusch). It expresses a divine necessity, and is used by all the Evangelists, as by St. Peter here, and by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:25), of the events connected with and following upon the Passion.—δεῖ, oportet, expresses logical necessity rather than personal moral obligation ὤφειλεν, debuit, or the sense of fitness, ἔπρεπεν, decebat. The three words are all found in Hebrews 2:1; Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 2:10, on which see Westcott, Hebrews, p. 36, and Plummer’s St. Luke, p. 247. St. Peter’s speech falls into two parts, one introduced by ἔδει, and the other introduced by δεῖ, Acts 1:21.—τὴν γραφὴν: the reference is undoubtedly to the particular passages in the O.T. which follow, cf. Luke 4:20, Acts 8:35; see Lightfoot on Galatians 3:22. There is no reference to Psalm 41:9, or this passage would have been quoted, but to the passages in Acts 1:20.—πληρωθῆναι, cf. Luke 24:44-45. πληρόω (which is very frequently used by St. Luke, Friedrich, ubi supra, p. 40) means more than “fulfil” in the popular acceptation of the word; it implies “to fill up to the full”; “Not only is our Lord the subject of direct predictions in the Old Testament, but His claims go to the full extent of affirming that all the truths which are imperfectly, and frequently very darkly shadowed forth in the pages, are realised in Him as the ideal to which they pointed” (Row, Bampton Lectures, pp. 202, 203).—τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. St. Luke uses this, or a similar expression, πνεῦμα ἅγιον or τὸ ἅγιον πνεῦμα, about forty times in Acts alone, whilst in St. Luke’s Gospel alone it is used about as many times as in the three other Evangelists together (Lekebusch, Apostelgeschichte, p. 65, and Plummer, St. Luke, p. 14).—ὁδηγοῦ τοῖς συλλ. τὸν Ἰησοῦν. St. Peter simply states a fact, but does not heap scorn or abuse upon Judas (Chrysostom, Hom., iii., cf. Theophylact). St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. John simply say of Judas ὁ παραδιδούς, “he who delivered Him up,” or employ some similar expression; he is never called “the traitor” (St. Luke 6:16, ἐγένετο προδότης, “became a traitor,” see Plummer, in loco). This self-restraint is remarkable on the part of men who must have regarded their Master’s Death as the most atrocious of murders (see Row, Bampton Lectures, pp. 179, 180, note). At the same time the word ὁδηγός seems to bring before us the scene in Gethsemane, how Judas went before the multitude, and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him (Luke 22:47), and to show us how vividly the memories of the Passion were present to St. Peter; cf. 1 Peter 2:21 ff.).

16. Men and brethren] The original is meant for one epithet, and would be fully enough rendered by brethren alone, here and in other places where it occurs.

this scripture, &c.] “This” is omitted by the best authorities. Read The scripture, &c. It is to be noticed that Peter can thus speak because he had now been taught to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:45).

must needs have been fulfilled] Christ was to die on the cross, betrayed to death by one in whom He had trusted. David had spoken in the Psalms of his own afflictions from a similar treachery and also of the destruction which he invoked upon those who were guilty of such infidelity. But while David spake of himself and of his own circumstances, the Holy Ghost through him was speaking of the betrayal of the “Son of David,” and the words which had been true of David, must have their still more complete fulfilment in the betrayal of the Saviour, by him “who was guide to them that took Jesus” (Matthew 26:47, &c.).

Acts 1:16. Ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ, men brethren) This is a more blessed mode of address than the well-known one of Demosthenes, etc., Men of Athens. It is an appellation expressive of honour and love, calculated to conciliate the hearers.—ταύτην) this Scripture, viz. in Ps. 69. and 109.

Verse 16. - Brethren, it teas needful that the Scripture should be fulfilled for men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled, A.V.; spake before by the mouth of David for by the mouth of David spake before, A.V. It was needful, etc. So our Lord declared, "The Scriptures cannot be broken" (John 10:35); and "All things must be fulfilled which were written" ere. (Luke 24:25-27, 44-46). It is most important to our Christian integrity that we should view the Scriptures in the same light as our Lord and his apostles did, as containing real prophecies, spoken by the Holy Ghost. (Compare the manner in which the sixty-ninth psalm is here quoted with that of Hebrews 3:7.) So the Creed, "I believe in the Holy Ghost .... who spake by the prophets" (comp. Acts 4:25; Acts 28:25). Who was guide, etc. If St. Peter had only been addressing his brother apostles, who were well acquainted with the treachery of Judas, it would scarcely have been natural to introduce these words; they would have seemed rather to be explanatory words added by the historian. But the circumstances might be very imperfectly known to many of the hundred and twenty brethren assembled on this occasion; and if so, the reference to Judas's treachery would not be out of place in St. Peter's mouth. Acts 1:16Men and brethren (ἄνδρες ἀδελφοὶ)

Lit., men, brothers. Brother-men. More dignified and solemn than the simple brethren.

This scripture

The best texts substitute the. See on Mark 12:10.

The Holy Ghost (τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον)

Lit., The Spirit, the Holy.


See on lead, Luke 6:39.

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